Thursday, September 30, 2010

I sleep around.

Last night, I slept with the manatees.  And 24 fifth graders.  I'm slutty like that.

Sous Chef's overnight field trip to the Cincy zoo took place last night and I was one of about six chaperones.  The class all slept in the manatee house in front of the monstrous pool that the two manatees live in.  I have had this experience one other time.  I took my nephew, now a sophomore in college, when he was a little guy.  It was 11 years ago.  I was five months pregnant with Sous Chef.  I remember that being one of the most peaceful sleeps I had had.  Waking up in the middle of the night, watching the manatees sleep, fart and go to the surface for air.  I think adding 11 years to this aging body has done something, because this time it was different.

We got to the zoo about 7:00 PM and did some behind the scenes stuff before bed.  First, we had to ride a school bus.  These are my tips/warnings/heads up on how to handle an evening like this:
  1. Earplugs.  Not for the sleeping but for the bus ride.  Kids these days do not sing "100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall."  They are not permitted to say "beer."  But don't be fooled, because kids today are creative, and instead they sing "100 Bottles of Pop on the Wall."  Loudly.
  2. Meal worms.  If you find yourself in the forest with nothing to eat, meal worms are a great food source.  It's basically like taking a vitamin.  The most important thing to remember is that you must kill the meal worm before swallowing.  BUT you cannot kill it buy squeezing it or mushing it before putting it in your mouth, because as our tour guide said, "It's like a gusher and it will ooze everywhere.  There will be nothing left to eat."  So, you must bite the meal worm with your teeth before swallowing.  Our tour guide knows this because the first time she ate one, she swallowed it whole and alive.  About an hour later it crawled back up her throat and into her mouth.  I had to leave the room at that point and could not watch her eat the meal worm.  The kids, however, were mesmerized.  She offered us adults a meal worm snack.  None of us took her up on her offer.  Of course, I was in the other room gagging and heaving, so I think it was obvious I was not interested in a late night snack.
  3. Sleep masks.  I chose to sleep on the boys side of the room.  My son is in a high achievers math class.  I think we can all admit that it appears boys are better than girls at math and this class is proof of that.  His class is 3/4 boys and the boys side of the room was at high capacity.  I chose a comfy spot with a good view.  They told us all the lights would be out, so not to worry about being under a light.  What they didn't warn me about was that the exit sign would stay brightly lit.  Not just brightly lit, but lit bright red.  I slept most of the night facing away from the sign, but that side of my body kept getting sore and numb.  Whenever I would roll over, I had to pull my sleeping bag over my head.  I was really wishing I had a sleep mask. I don't even own one, but next time, I will purchase one.  I think they should sell them at the zoo.
  4. Farting.  I was on the boys side of the room.  Enough said.
  5. Gross factor.  See #3.  I had a group of boys.  We buddied up with two other groups for our night time, in the total dark tour.  Of the entire group, there were two girls, besides us moms.  The grosser the topic, food source or smell, the funnier they thought it was.  The girls?  They hung in there pretty well.  The moms?  See the gagging and heaving comment in #2.
A sleeping bag sea of boys!
All in all, it was a blast.  When my older son went on this trip, they did a different zoo tour and slept in a different building.  Also, MG went as the chaperone.  We have one more zoo trip in our future for CJ.  Maybe we can both chaperone that one!

Here is a funny video.  It's only about 30 seconds and unfortunately is not as clear as I would like.  The lighting was pretty low.  However, this little guy in the video is so stinkin' cute I could have brought him home with us!


  1. You are truly one of the boys. God bless the mamas who sleep around joyfully. You are a god send to those of us who would miss these things due to work conflicts. Cheers!

  2. I once spent the night in an aquarium, next to the shark tank. Probably wasn't the worst place I've chaperoned with my three boys, but I remember freezing all night. And I hate sharks.

  3. You are a brave, brave woman. That would not be the field trip for me!

  4. Farting manatees. Who would have thought that would be the attraction?

    I always carry a sleep mask and earplugs whenever I go anyplace that is not home. You never know when you will be in the presence of snorers, teeth grinders, dusk-to-dawn lights, and in your case farters, singers, and red Exit signs. Might I recommend Bucky Sleep Masks--they don't leave creases on your face, and they have a little pocket in them for your earplugs. :)

    This sounds like a BLAST. Invite me next time; I love to chaperone!